Putney Student Travel: Cultural Exploration Writing in Ireland

Putney, VT

Overview

Expand and refine your writing skills with a group of like-minded peers. Explore Ireland and study the craft under the guidance of published and acclaimed young writers in an environment that is immersive, meaningful, and fun. Write in cafés, monasteries, galleries, and castles perched atop craggy cliffs.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Write in cafés, ruined monasteries, grand estates, and windswept hilltop castles.
  • Get to know legendary Dublin, an official UNESCO City of Literature.
  • Receive valuable, constructive, one-on-one feedback on your work from Putney’s accomplished writing instructors.
  • Participate in an intensive writing workshop on an island off the coast of Connemara.
  • Read your original work at a student-organized reading on the final night of the program.

OVERVIEW

Putney’s Literary Legacy

Among Putney’s leaders and instructors are some of America’s most acclaimed young writers, including Salvatore Scibona (The End, 2008 National Book Award Finalist), Amber Dermont (The Starboard Sea), Rosecrans Baldwin (Paris, I Love You, But You’re Bringing me Down), Mike Levy (Kosher Chinese), Tim Weed (Will Poole’s Island), Brian Staveley (The Emperor’s Blades and The Providence of Fire), and Karen Russell (Saint Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves,Swamplandia!, a 2012 Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and Vampires in the Lemon Grove). In keeping with our distinguished legacy of excellence in writing, this field-based writer’s workshop offers participants a chance to experiment with poetry, fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting, and more. The hands-on, traveling workshop is based in dynamic exercises that allow students to engage with place and culture through the lens of writing, and supplemented by public readings and an array of enrichment seminars on such topics as Irish history, literature, music, food, theatre, and special mini-workshops in poetry, travel writing, photography, blogging, and more. Beginning in Dublin and ranging across to Ireland’s western coast and Atlantic islands, explore this storied country and refine your writing skills in the genre(s) of your choosing.

Dublin & Connemara

Whatever your chosen genre, you are likely to find an Irish author who has distinguished herself or himself as its practitioner: Jonathan Swift, Maria Edgeworth, William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Bram Stoker, Seamus Heaney, Edna O’Brien, Maeve Binchy, Eavan Boland, Elizabeth Bowen, Seamus Deane, Paul Muldoon — the list goes on. Related to its world-class literary reputation, Ireland is full of native-born storytellers, as you are likely to discover when you strike up conversations on park benches, in taverns, or just walking down the street. Explore and draw inspiration from the people, literary legacy, history of struggle, and rich and diverse cultural and physical landscape of this evocative country.

Writers’ Retreat & Final Reading

A largely generative writing experience in which participants gain exposure to and experience writing across disparate genres and styles, this program affords students a unique opportunity to experiment, push boundaries, and gain valuable writing skills while immersing themselves in a rich and vital culture. In the final days of the program, students participate in an intensive, three-day Writers’ Retreat during which they will have the opportunity to further workshop, revise, and polish their work. The program culminates with a student-organized reading of the group’s best work on the final night in Dublin.

Accommodations

Group accommodations are carefully selected by Putney Student Travel to emphasize convenience, a positive group environment, and wholesome interaction with local people and fellow travelers. In Dublin, we stay in multi-bedded dormitory-style accommodations with shared hall bathrooms. While on Inishbofin, we stay at a small, family-run hostel in multi-bedded rooms. Students have access to common space at our accommodations as well as ample outside space for community meetings, writing, pick-up games of frisbee, and socializing. Rooms are separated by gender. Leaders reside in the same residences with students throughout the program.

Physical Challenge Level

Days are filled with movement — walking the streets of Dublin and Galway, hiking coastal trails, playing a pick-up game of frisbee with new friends, taking an Irish step-dancing lesson are all activities you might participate in during this program. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities.

A Typical Day

8:30–9:15 AM: Breakfast at our residence

9:15 AM–4 PM:  Time out and about in workshop groups

Writing exercises are field-based, so most days you will head out of the classroom to interact with the destination. With your workshop group and leader, visit museums, cultural and literary centers, shops, cafés, libraries, markets, parks, and ruins, using each destination and site visited as the raw material for writing. Have lunch out and about with your group and explore in groups of three or more while working on a writing project.

4–6 PM: Down time

Return to the hostel for a rest.

6–7:30 PM: Dinner

7:30–10:15 PM: Evening activity

Go see a play or musical performance, take an evening stroll, or have a game or movie night back at the residence

10:15–11 PM: Community meeting

Gather as a whole group of students and leaders to talk, reflect on the day, discuss future plans, and engage in group activities

11–11:30 PM: Office hours

As you wind down for the evening, stop by to visit with your leaders to talk over ongoing projects

11:30 PM: Lights out

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